Hear ye, hear ye: the general consensus is that the flooring industry is hungry for innovative ways to win new business and battle back against a weak economy. Organizers of the joint Surfaces and StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas 2013 show, Jan. 28-31 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, hope the event will serve as the staging ground for the beginning of a long-term turnaround.

According to Dana Teague, Surfaces/StonExpo group director, the show will offer a wide range of exhibits and events geared toward new product trends; the latest education and training updates; surveys of cutting-edge technology; and forums on best practices for building business.

“Surfaces 2013 is a must-attend event for all floor covering professionals,” Teague said. “From our intense education program to our world-class show floor, every retailer and installer can walk away anticipating success in the upcoming year.”

Floor Trendsand sister publication Floor Covering Installer will have large roles in the show. FCI will sponsor a greatly expanded Tool Alley, an area of the show floor dedicated solely to flooring tools and equipment. Tool Alley will feature new, advanced tools which will be put through their paces in live demonstrations. Additionally, Chris Grundy, host of DIY’s Cool Tools, will visit on Tuesday, Jan. 29, to tour the exhibits

The New Product Marketplace, co-sponsored by Floor Trends,is a sneak-peek of some of the most eye-catching products show goers will be able to see inside the show. This year, attendees can choose their favorite new product in the Marketplace by texting their vote. The award winner will be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 30.

“The New Product Marketplace is tracking to be bigger and better than it has been in previous years,” Amie Gilmore, associate show director, said. “With the Marketplace moving into the lobby of Bayside, attendees will have easy access to view the greatest new product and trends in one central location.”

Floor Trends will also be sponsoring the WFCA’s annual Gold Standard and WFCA/Howard Olansky Memorial Affiliate of the Year Awards. The Gold Standard Award is given to a WFCA-member retailer that exemplifies the standards of the WFCA and has created a memorable retail experience. The winner, who will be announced at Surfaces, will receive a $5,000 check, a trophy, press recognition and a customized seal for his or her store entrance. Entries close Dec. 31.

The Technology Trendsdemonstrations are concise, 15-minute presentations of new technology-based products. In addition to all the other participating companies, Floor Trends will give demonstrations of the new Floor Trends+ app, which lets readers interactively engage with special sections of the print publication.

The demonstrations are part of the show’s brand-new Business Enrichment Center. This area will feature an education stage, a social lounge with a focus on social media, and an attendee lounge for networking opportunities.

Show Ready

Exhibitors are excited for 2013, with many of them anticipating a higher turnout and more business than with previous shows. According to Ralph Boe, president and CEO of Beaulieu of America,“It seems like consumer confidence is getting better and the builder segment is getting a bit better. That should mean more business in 2013.

Boe said the company will roll out “a whole new line of introductions that’s different from the things we’ve shown in the past. These are things that we’ve kept under the blanket this year, so they really haven’t been exposed to anybody yet.”

He adds that Surfaces serves as a great venue for the company. “You get to see so many people over a three-day period and engage with new customers. Also, our sales force gets charged up by going out there. They see the displays and how the products look on the floor, along with how the customers react to them, and come back so much more excited about selling.”

Lori Kirk-Rolley, Dal-Tile senior marketing director, said the show “affords us the opportunity to showcase our extensive portfolio of new products and expanded product lines, as well as our exciting programs and technology initiatives.” She added that this year’s show will see Dal-Tile’s “largest new product offering in years.”

Betsy Amoroso, corporate communications director of  Mannington Mills Inc., called the show “the industry’s single largest event, which not only offers a great venue for face-to-face interaction with our customers, but demonstrates our continuing support for the flooring industry.” Along with showcasing new products, the company will bring back its Jay’s Bargain Basement area.

Steve Rausch, USG’s field marketing and technical manager, says Surfaces is valuable because “all the different segments of the industry come together to learn about the new developments and methods to continue improving our industry.”

USG will debut several new technologies and product systems. Along with acting as a product showcase, Surfaces also serves another important purpose, Rausch said. “The show sets the pace for how the industry will do. If attendance is high, as anticipated, that will show a very positive sign that we can expect a recovery of the housing improvement business in 2013.”